Sunday, November 17, 2013

Families behaving front of clergy

Tonight was the Homecoming game at Chatham High School. It was cold. Really cold. And the kids were behaving badly. Really badly. To add to my embarrassment, I invited our new pastor to the game...and he came. He came to see my sweet angels become little monsters. Even baby got agitated and head butted his brother. Their actions and my reactions were something worthy of needing Super Nanny. Let's just say I think he's completely rewritten his sermon and it's centered around how NOT to raise your kids.

He's not resting. He's throwing a mini-tantrum

When brother's shoe (top left corner) made contact with his head,

it became a full-fledged-tantrum

I could have shown grace and kindness when they were whining about being cold, but I didn't. I could have been patient when they were chasing each other around the bleachers, but I wasn't. I raised my voice, I got entirely too irritated and I probably behaved as badly as they did. I KNOW I behaved as badly...ugh.

I don't know why I think I have to be on my best behavior in front of clergy. Maybe it's because I think they have God on speed dial while I'm still looking him up in the phone book. Maybe it's because they see us on Sunday when we bring our A-game. We bring our smiles and our cute outfits and our cute attitudes. Often, the pastor sees us for one hour, once a week sporting our Sunday best.But Sunday best can be Sunday boast. Usually what's sitting in the pews is not quite realistic.What he sees looking back at him are a bunch of masks. He doesn't hear the snarky comment the wife gives her husband the minute they're in the car. He doesn't see the man who rushes home to have a beer because it's been several hours since he had a drink. He doesn't see the calm mother completely lose it on her toddler before they're barely out of the nursery.

Of course, the congregation doesn't fully grasp the complexities of the man standing in front of them either. They see someone breaking bread, offering peace and praying earnestly for them. They see a spiritual leader. But what about his personal struggles? We (I) tend to forget that a pastor receiving a calling from God doesn't make him less human.

Back to the game. Daddy showed up after ticket taking and relieved me of the three big kids. After a few deep breaths I was calm enough to want to take them home with me. Right before bed, I apologized for how I acted. At least they could learn something from this. Perhaps they'll take away that it's ok to admit you're mistakes. After some prodding, the twins acknowledged their behavior was lacking as well. So I guess the night wasn't a total bust.

But this Sunday, I'm leaving the mask at home. Why bring it? The pastor has seen me at my best and, thanks to this evening's antics, he has seen me behaving pretty poorly. I no longer need to pretend that I have it all together, because, like it or not, he knows I DON'T. There's a freedom in that.
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